Vodafone denies bribery allegations

He was a perfect Gent, honest...

He was a perfect Gent, honest...

Vodafone has denied accusations that it paid bonuses of around DM150m (£48m) to Mannesmann executives in an attempt to smooth last year's takeover. German prosecutors yesterday confirmed that Vodafone CEO Chris Gent was one of the key targets of their investigation. The mobile giant insisted it had acted in accord with German law and added that it did not make direct or indirect contact with any of the Mannesmann directors during last year's takeover talks, the Financial Times reports. Vodafone added that once the deal went through, it had no choice but to pay out the multi-million deutsche mark bonuses to the departing German execs. Executives under investigation include former Mannesmann CEO Klaus Esser, Vodafone CEO Chris Gent, and Klaus Zwickel, head of the powerful IG Metall union. The Dusseldorf public prosecutor leading the investigation alleges that payoffs were made to the Mannesmann execs in an attempt to remove resistance to the £110bn hostile takeover. The investigation was launched in March 2001 after a Stuttgart-based law firm alleged that Esser accepted the Vodafone takeover offer in exchange for the payment.